I used to think the best way to encourage my leaders was to always have the right answers for them, to be the “fix it” guy. I learned early on in marriage that most of the time, my wife didn’t need me to fix it (learned that the hard way… can I get an “amen” fellows). She mostly wanted me to hear, care, and support her. It took me many years to realize, more times than not, those are the same things my leaders need and want from me as well.
Over the last couple of years, I’ve discovered that the best ways to encourage my leaders were two-fold: LISTENING EARS & ASKING QUESTIONS. I was reminded of this a few months ago when I was having coffee with a guy. I was asking questions about his family, and he referred to his dad as his “paternal father”. It seemed an odd description for describing his dad so I asked him why he described him like that. Wow, did that open the “floodgates”… He described some “father wounds” and how that has effected his relationships, and at times, unhealthy approaches to working and serving. It ended up being a good opportunity to come alongside him and serve him by encouraging him and journeying with him through some past pain. The point being, it came as a result of Listening Ears and Asking Questions.
I want to give two sets of questions that could be used as you come alongside your leaders to encourage them. Remember, the key is not just the questions, but listening ears to better know how to encourage, equip and support them. These questions were developed by Carl George (a church & leadership consultant).
I would recommend this first set of questions on a QUARTERLY basis with your leaders. They are great BIG PICTURE leadership questions:
1. Do you spend more time PROBLEM-SOLVING or INVESTING IN THE FUTURE?
2. Are you more concerned with EFFICIENCY or EFFECTIVENESS?
3. Have you defined “GOOD ENOUGH”? (good enough = “anything that moves the ball forward”)
4. Do you see your job as OVERSIGHT or LEADERSHIP DEVELOPMENT?
These set of questions are great WEEKLY questions (either formally or informally). These are good practical DAY-TO-DAY leadership/management questions:
#1 How ARE you?
#2 What are you CELEBRATING?
#3 What CHALLENGES are you experiencing?
#4 What do you plan TO DO about those challenges?
#5 How can I HELP you?
#6 How can I PRAY for you?
I hope this is helpful and practical for you. Got any questions? I’m listening… 🙂